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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on August 20, 2014

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More reasons:

@ January 21, 2012 7:20 PM in whats the reason

No spark, poor spark, grounding spark, ad nauseum.

One Reason:

@ January 21, 2012 6:56 PM in whats the reason

The number one reason I have found is that the control doesn't "see" a flame.

HTP Indirects:

@ January 21, 2012 6:47 PM in HTP INDIRECT WATER HEATER

If the inside of the coil was the problem, you could do that. clean the inside. In these indirects the boiler water is pumped through the inside of the coil and makes the hardness residue form on the outside of the coil. To submerge the coil on the outside, you have to add enough cleaner to cover the coil inside the tank.


@ January 21, 2012 5:21 PM in Oil burner tuning, Nozzle sizing help

If you read around, you have read me railing against crappy filtration. Your set-up is the poster child for my rant. Add a spin-on with a vacuum gauge. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your controller. It is doing what it is supposed to do. Shut the burner off when there is no flame. If you hadn't installed that new canister filter without a place to put a vacuum gauge, and installed a spin-on type with a vacuum gauge, you would have seen that the longer the burner ran, the higher the vacuum pressure would go until you probably heard a "Vacuum Whine" and the flame went out. Then, the burner would go off after 15 seconds with that control.
If you do as you say, and you have something electrical that is giving you a problem and it is a motor, do you put an amp clamp on the motor to see the amp draw? A multimeter to check the voltage? A vacuum gauge is like an amp clamp.
The vacuum gauge will show you the restriction from the pump to inside the tank. Its so simple, that its stupid.
Don't worry about the heat loss. Its not part of your problem.


@ January 21, 2012 5:00 PM in Head Question?

The thought of doing it the correct and "messy way", is already giving me a head ache just thinking about it.

Double Dipped:

@ January 21, 2012 4:55 PM in Double Dip Tubed!

If that indirect is the same as the Weil McLain tank, the second dip tube was/is to meet Massachusetts regs about a drain for the tank. Because it is a tank within a tank, you MUST drain the outside the boiler side of the tank first, before you drain the domestic water part of the buoyancy of the domestic tank will cause serious uncompensated damage to the tank. You can drain the boiler side but not the tank side. The extra dip tube is so that you can suck the water out of the tank through a dip tube. There is a separate nipple for it. I have houses that I drain that have systems filled with anti-freeze. I must leave the water domestic water in the tank for the winter. Without the dip tube installed, there is no way to suck the water out of the tank unless you have a vacuum relief valve on the cold and you can replace it with a boiler drain.
I've never had a problem with freeze damage to the tank.
The last tank I do, I found the dip tube in a closet on the floor.
Read the install instructions. If there is a part about "Special Massachusetts Install Instructions", you will find it. One needs to read ALL the manufacturers installations. It's amazing how smart you can become with useless information.

Valve Question:

@ January 21, 2012 4:36 PM in Valve Question

If you don't get water coming out of the radiators when you try to bleed them, you should start there first.
Then, check the system pressure. You must have enough pressure to push the water to above the top floor radiators. Measure from the top of the boiler to the top of the highest radiator. Multiply that by .434. That will give you how much minimum pressure you need in the system. You also need to know if the gauge is set to zero when there is no pressure in the system.
Then, deal with the valves.
But I would never start anything until I got water out of the bleeders. How else would you know if there is water in the radiator?

Zone heads:

@ January 21, 2012 4:27 PM in Head Question?

Why on earth would you have all four zones and valves running off one thermostat? 
If you are doing as you say, the "head" is the entire system, with all the zone valves open amd the circulator running.
IMO, that is only your theoretical head pressure through the system. The "true" head pressure is measured by taking the differential pressure between the inlet and outlet of the circulator while pumping the system. This can be way more or way less than you compute.
Again, IMO.

Cleaning Coils:

@ January 21, 2012 4:19 PM in HTP INDIRECT WATER HEATER

Steve, my heritage from a land in the northern British Isles would compel me to buy Vinegar in sufficient quantities to try this. If it works, and I have no reason from experience, that it won't, would compel me to try it. 30 gallons of vinegar is far cheaper than a new indirect.

Leaking Circulator

@ January 21, 2012 4:12 PM in old flanged circulator

The cost of the bearing assembly for that B&G Series 100 in-line circulator is about what a Taco 007 wet rotar circulator is and is a direct replacement. You will need to drain the system either way.


@ January 21, 2012 2:38 PM in Low Delta T between boiler Supply and Return

The installer did a REALLY nice job on your install. His insistence of the larger boiler is based on hos own personal experience. Wrong or right, it is a really professional job. I sometimes see this obsession with saving money and condensing. Sometimes it looks like stepping over a ten dollar bill to get to a dime to pick it up.
You may go out to dinner and leave a tip that is bigger than the amount of savings you get from a different installation. I'd be happy to know that the person who installed that system was a first class mechanic and not a hack. Who really gives a schitt about the quality of hos work. And will be proud to come to that site, 20 years from now and still be proud.
"Nuff Said.


@ January 21, 2012 2:16 PM in Beckett Burner the end of my rope!!!

If the motor starts, and the burner doesn't light, there are only two things that can cause it. No fuel, or no spark. Did you hear the "scratching" of the ignition when the motor started? You usually heat it with that control when the relay clicks and before the motor starts. If not, check that. If you have spark, then it is fuel. How do you know that you have 100# PSIG (let alone contemplated 140# PSIG) pressure.
Remove the HP line from the pump to the burner. Turn on the burner. Do you get a serious flow of oil into a container and it stays steady for 15 seconds or so? When the control cuts out, does the fuel instantly stop or does it slowly slow down? New pump.
There is only a filter at the tank. If it is  Garber Spin-on, does it have a vacuum gauge in the bleed port? If not, get one. Does it have high vacuum? If it does,
A place to start. If the motor is running, and you have no fire, it isn't the motor unless it is running very slow. But one would normally be able to notice this.
Put a Spin On filter with a vacuum gauge on the burner pump so you will ALWAYS know what the vacuum pressure is. It will also tell you when that antique design oil filter is plugged. Diagnosing problems without a vacuum gauge is like navagating without a map or chart.
Don't skip steps.

Oil Burner Problems:

@ January 21, 2012 1:58 PM in Oil burner tuning, Nozzle sizing help

I have been doing plumbing and heating for over 40 years. That includes oil burners. Where I work, there are some who will call me for their very worst stumpers which I gladly help for my personal challenge and experience. I love a challenge.
I know exactly what your problems are. They are simple and many and easily fixed. The person you have used is clueless but probably a nice guy. From your questions, you in no way, have the expertise to solve your problems. As simple as they are.
What you are contemplating doing, will not resolve your issue. If you had said what the root problem was, I would know. You don't. A combustion analyzer won't help you. My 30+ Bachrach oil wet kit would tell  but you wouldn't be able to interpret the problem. And my Bachrach Insight would too but the old one will do as well.
Call a really competent Professional that has a digital analyzer. If he/she doesn't have one, find someone who does.

Filters and Gauges:

@ January 21, 2012 1:39 PM in problems with west wood oil filters?

A wool sock would also do.
Way back when, I was always hearing suggestions to check the vacuum. Doing pumps and wells, I know how difficult it is to add a vacuum gauge to a system that doesn't have one. And I want IMMEDIATE results when I am troubleshooting.
For all the Canister filters that gave me fits, and they were resolved with a filter that has a vacuum gauge installed at all times. my problems went away.
I'm probably the oldest fart here. I realized years ago that nozzles under .85 GPH were failing far too soon. That changing nozzle strainers on a two week old nozzle would return the nozzle to like new. The problem went away with Spin-On's. In 10 years of using dual spin-ons, I have had not one plugged nozzle strainer or a second filter being clogged.
The oil industry has a big enough problem competing with gas. You all using sub-standard filtration are helping to push the industry over the cliff.
If you think that canister type filters are so great, join the crowd of folks taking their vehicles back to the dealers to have the spin'ons removed and replaced with canisters
You won't find me there.
Prfomoting and installing state of the art heating technology with 100+ old filtration technology. Another good idea.


@ January 21, 2012 12:56 PM in Homeowner

Not having don all the TS on this burner, and assuming that the previous techs did the obvious and know what they are doing, I would suspect that it could be a bad burner motor. If the motor is overheating and running slowly, it may cause the relay to trip out. Sometimes, when a burner starts, you can get intermittent "failure to start" experiences and the motor doesn't start but doesn't trip the thermal overload cut out switch.
I developed a close personal relationship with my Multi-Meter when I had a burner that went out for YEARS. Before I came on the scene and had a Power Venter on it. It had too much draft and I had ti install a second RC. The 60200 control could "see" a draft fluctuation and trip out the control. I only finally figured it out when it was stopping while running while there one day doing something else.
You can help the diagnosis by spending some quality time with your burner and trying to be present when the burner stops and goes out on safety.

Closely Spaced Tees:

@ January 21, 2012 12:30 PM in piping question, tight tees

Everything I have read about closely spaced tees call for 4 to six pipe diameters between tees. There is also a distance the tees are supposed to be from a change of flow direction, like an elbow.
Mixing of the primary and secondary water is supposed to take place in the tees. The closer the tees, the better the mixing. The farther apart, the worse the mixing. The farther apart, it becomes, not mixing but something else. The closely spaced tees cause a mini=circuit through the primary loop.
I've never seen 7+ pipe diameters recommended as closely spaced tees. Read the manufacturers installation instruction for their definition of "closely spaced tees". If you feel that the manufacturers suggest 7 or more pipe diameters for closely spaced, then it is a proper spacing. If not, one could say it is an improper spacing of the tees.
In my opinion.
Why is there a question?
That's the nice thing about Hydraulic Separators. You can't screw them up.

Cleaning an indirect:

@ January 21, 2012 12:03 PM in HTP INDIRECT WATER HEATER

If the coil is encrusted on the outside, on the potable water side, it is because the hot water in the coil is causing the hardness in the potable water to boil out on the hot indirect coil. It is not easy to remove the coil.I've never heard of anyone trying to do it. And with success.
Being the adventuring sort, and forced to try to do something, I would drain the tank and put enough gallons of white vinegar to cover the coil completely. Run the circulator for some time, occasionally.  Let it set for as long as practical. Flush the crud out the drain. You will need to figure out a way to get water into the other side of the heater (hot). If you get chunks of white stuff, you are removing it. You will need a lot of turbulence to get it moving. White Vinegar by the gallons cheap and safe and you can buy it in the El Cheapo section of the Supermarket.

High Limits:

@ January 21, 2012 11:35 AM in What should boiler high limit be?

In that case, you should really look into having a Taco "I" series 4 way mixer installed. You would not believe the increase in comfort and performance in your system.
I put one in an old house that was too hot in some areas and cool in others. The system was running at 170 degrees for the indirect.
With the 4-way, the whole house is the same temperature and is even. The radiators are just warm.  I went by the house the other day to do some work. The system pump was running, the thermostat was set at 63 degrees, the system temperature was 122 degrees and it was 16 degrees outside. All the radiators were warm to the touch. The boiler runs at 170 degrees when the system is calling but only uses enough hot water to maintain temperature at what the outdoor sensor decides.
The system runs how it was designed to run. As a gravity coal system with 4" mains and 1 1/2" risers to the big column radiators.
I have never found anything that for the money, will do so much. The only piping is to connect the boiler supply and return with two properly placed, closely spaced tees, connected to the valve, and adding a circulator to the system and having them pump together. The last time I was there, the boiler came on for a few minutes. I used a Wilo Star 3 speed and it runs fine on #1.

Low Delta T:

@ January 21, 2012 10:59 AM in Low Delta T between boiler Supply and Return

Condensing is a beautiful thing.
That said, just one of those Taco 007 circulatore would give you more flow through the entire system than you could ever use. And you have three of them. If you want a lower return temperature, you need a lower flow through the system or circuit. Three speed pumps are nice. Tp prove my point, buy a three speed pump and put it on the biggest zone. Set it on #1 or the lowest speed. Your return temperature will drop. Set it on 33. Your return temperature will go up.
I have 6 Taco 571 zone valves with a TACO 007. I saw a demonstration of Wilo circulators. I saw the Stratos variable speed. I installed one. I can tgroll the speed of the pump because it senses the load.
In my opinion, your system was and is vastly over pumped.
If you want to slow it down, put on three speeds.
That's my opinion not shared by others. 

Limited Limits:

@ January 21, 2012 10:43 AM in What should boiler high limit be?

The control is doing what it is supposed to do. If the house stays warm at 140 degrees, that is a good system temperature. If not, raise it.
What type of radiation do you have in the building?

Peerless Pinnicle:

@ January 21, 2012 10:26 AM in peerless pinnacle

Peerless Pinnicle is an Irish Munchkin.
I'm sure it is to old to have the 926 controller.
It hasn't been serviced properly since installed. It will need a thorough cleaning and repair. It will need the drain cleaned, a target wall, door refractory and a new burner tube because the old one is probably cracked.
It's not something that a homeowner can easily do.
Where do you live?

Honeywell Wireless W/ Taco Zone Valves:

@ January 21, 2012 10:09 AM in Honeywell wireless for Taco ZVC

I did something like this in an antique brick house that needed to have radiant zones split and no way to run thermostat wires. I used the Honeywell Wireless controller and wireless thermostats that fed  to a Taco ZV 503. I needed a wireless connection from the third floor to the cellar and no one made a wireless connector, Honeywell or Taco. I was told to use a Rib Wireless Relay but it didn't transmit any farther than the floor below. Possibly because of the copper coils plastered in the ceiling. But the Honeywell Wireless had no problem. I ended up finding a way to run a wire to the boiler.
What you want to do is very doable.